Report from the Dock
It has been a major week of transition in many parts of the state when it comes to fish location and what anglers are using to catch them. Many of the better walleye reports involved deeper-water fish that are now relating to structure or sharper breaks, as well as a switch from minnows to leeches, nightcrawlers, or some form of artificial presentation. Don’t completely give up on minnows, especially if you’re still finding walleyes in shallow water and vegetation, which remains the case in a lot of spots across northern Wisconsin. Panfish action is going strong with most crappies done spawning or just finishing up, while bluegills are bit behind the crappies as far as the spawn. Whether or not you find them in spawning areas will depend how far north you’re fishing. If they’re done, look to the emerging weed edges to start holding better numbers of quality bluegills and crappies. Bass, northern pike, and walleyes are starting to use these developing weeds as well, so expect a mixed bag.
Walleyes are being taken with leeches or fatheads in 10 to 15 feet on Half Moon, Wapogasset, Balsam, and Big Round lakes. Look for panfish on the shorelines and crappies along the emerging weedlines of Wapogasset, Balsam, and Cedar. Throw small bucktails in 10 to 15 feet for muskies on Wapogasset, Bone, and Deer lakes, and the Apple River. Bass and pike are active and relating to weeds.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
Fishing is good on Chequamegon Bay. Smallmouths are hungry after the spawn. Use suckers and plastics. Walleyes are biting on nightcrawlers. Northerns have been hitting along the shorelines. Browns and cohos have been hit-and-miss as the shallow-water bite winds down, but with the colder spring, they are still catching them on the back side of Long Island and in the Apostle Islands. Walleyes have been caught in the sloughs and at the head of the bay. The inland lakes are producing nice-sized crappies and bluegills.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
There are just a few salmon showing up on the big lake so far, but it only takes a day or two for all heck to break loose. The perch fishing has been super so far and it should continue to get better with more weed growth. The deep water off of Chaudoir’s Dock is starting to get rolling, along with Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay channel. The walleye fishing is still a bit slow, but it will start back up soon out on the reefs on trolled crankbaits and crawler harnesses. There are still a bunch of active pike in all the southern bays and the Sturgeon Bay shipping channel.
In Kewaunee, most anglers were fishing from boats for brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, cohos and kings. Water temperatures last week ranged from 43 to 49 degrees.
Algoma had very low fishing pressure last week, in part due to a mix of rain and fog. This led to murky water clarity in Olsen Park.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Most of the fish are now assuming a summer pattern, so the main advice is to look for weeds and fish deeper. On the Eagle River Chain, in the mornings and evenings fish in 5 to 7 feet of water. As the day progresses, the heavy traffic tends to drive fish deeper, so try jigs and minnows in deeper water to find some walleyes. Walleye, perch and crappies are still biting well; mostly on jigs and minnow combinations. There are some smallies on the rocky points. Muskie and northern pike action is good right now, as the muskie have recovered from their spawn and are feeding more aggressively. The best muskie action has been mostly on bucktails, but as the water continues to warm look to surface baits, plastics and crankbaits.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Walleye fishing has been fair, with some days of little to no fish and some with limit catches. Alewife intrusion has loaded shallow areas of lower Green Bay with tons of bait, and until they disperse, bait fishing may be inconsistent. Perch fishing has been better, with good catches on the east shore near Chaudoir’s and in the Oconto area. Smallmouth bass remain the best bet, with lots of active fish in the Door County area. Voyageur Park had its swings of heavy shore fishing and moored pleasure boats. Most river anglers were targeting walleyes, but only reeled in a handful.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 593 1749.
Suckers are producing walleyes during the evening hours along the 15- to 18-foot weed edges on Grindstone Lake, Chippewa Flowage, Moose Lake, and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles. Look for quality largemouth bass in the weeds and smallmouth bass on deeper rocks of most lakes. You’ll find crappies in the mid-depth weeds and bluegills on the shoreline of Nelson Lake and Lake Chetek.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Milwaukee boat anglers have had success on cohos in depths from 50 to 140 feet using standard coho rigs. Some king salmon and lake trout also have been caught. Anglers fishing for kings had the best luck in 60 to 80 feet of water, with one group catching four fish. Shore and pier anglers have had success fishing for cohos on choppy days using spoons and live bait.
Port Washington pier anglers reported some success on trout and salmon on the south pier using spoons when the weather allowed anglers to fish. Boat anglers reported good catches of cohos, rainbow trout and lake trout in depths ranging from 100 to 350 feet.
Sheboygan anglers fishing the piers were using spoons, flies and alewives, but reported limited sightings and no catches from the piers. From the ramp, good catches of coho salmon and lake trout were reported last week. A few boaters caught king salmon and rainbow trout, as well, in 200 and 350 feet on flies, dodgers and spoons.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
There has been a lot of catfish action and angler interest in the river this past week. Anglers have reported decent success on walleyes, but there has been not set pattern. The walleyes seem to be scattered and are being caught just about anywhere and at any time.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Bluegills were wrapping up their spawn on the Madison chain’s smaller lakes, while largemouths are in the weeds with perch and white bass. Anglers trolling Warner Bay are doing well on spawning white bass. The walleyes are now in deeper water on the humps and breaks. The Cherokee Marsh weeds are thick now, so the shore fishing there has become very difficult. Catfish are spawning in the Hwy. 113 bridge area.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
In Oconto County, Geano Beach anglers were targeting walleyes, but it was hit-or-miss around the reef. Crawler harnesses seemed to provide the most success. The walleyes averaged 18 inches. Yellow perch fishing picked up last week, with more anglers targeting them between Oconto County Park II and Oconto. Areas with growing weeds were holding fish in 3 to 4 feet, in depths around 10 feet. A few walleye were caught in the same areas.
Anglers fishing for walleyes on the Menominee River at Marinette were having some luck, with most boats getting one or two fish from the Hwy. 41 bridge upstream on crawler harnesses or small Rapalas. Anglers on the Peshtigo River were trying for yellow perch with little success, but finding the white perch were abundant. Sheepshead, pike and carp were also caught by anglers targeting perch.
A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Following some cool mornings in the 40s to keep lake surface temperatures down, a heat wave moved into the Northwoods, pushing up lake temps and the activities that go with warmer water. Surface temps will soon hit the 70s, which will bring on bug hatches.
Bluegill action has been very good. Anglers using poppers and dry flies are having fun in the shallows. Largemouth action is very good, with the warming water right up their alley. From mid-morning through the afternoons go with wacky worms, Ned rigs and Tokyo rigs to get into the weed cover. Smallmouth action is good to very good. Surprisingly, there were still some “nesters” on the larger lakes last week. This could change quickly with heat. Muskie action has been good. Kaiden Schrieber, 15, of Naperville, Ill., boated a 50-inch beauty on the Flambeau Chain. There have been reports of anglers moving fish in the evenings on topwater lures, but bucktails remain the top lure. Walleyes have been good to fair. Oddly, some of the best action has been coming late morning to early afternoon.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Muskie fishing isn’t slow, but it isn’t fast, either. Muskies are being caught, but more catches have been made on walleye and crappie rigs than on muskie baits. Smaller offerings are good for recovering post-spawn fish. The walleye action has been good using leeches on hooks under slip bobbers along deep weed edges. Northern pike and largemouth bass action has been good on just about anything in the tackle box. Smallmouth bass are on rocks and sand bottoms in 10 to 15 feet.
St. Croix Rods, Park Falls, (715) 762-3226.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Northern pike are hitting spoons, spinners and surface baits. Largemouth bass anglers report success with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, scented worms, and crawlers and minnows on harnesses. The crappies spawn finally ended, so those fish are pushing deeper into weeds to hide from predators.
Look for good numbers of fish near weed beds in 7 to 15 feet. Hooks and jigs with crappie minnows and Gulp! Alive minnows under floats are working well. Bluegills have not yet finished spawning and multiple anglers report catching females with big bellies full of eggs.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports Shop, (715) 349-2400.
Northern pike fishing has been good on weedless spoons, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and topwaters fished in shallow bays and in lily pads. Late mornings and evenings are the best times.
Largemouth bass fishing is good, with the fish post-spawn in most lakes. Bigger bass moved out of super shallow water to 5 to 6 feet and are hitting just about everything. Smallmouth bass action is very good and many anglers report success.
The best baits have been plastics, jerkbaits and leeches. Crappie fishing has been very good off shallow structure and in deeper water.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.